New Micro Fiction: Padded Walls

Note: As some of you know, I often participate in a weekly writing contest called “Cracked Flash Fiction Competition.” The following piece won this week. I owe this weeks judge, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, a big thank you for catching my typos and still choosing my story in spite of the,.

Padded Walls

By Sara Codair

“When this is over, I want my sanity back,” said Elena as matter-of-factly as one could say anything when wearing a straightjacket in a padded room.

The padded walls spread their crusty purple lips, revealing row upon row of pointy yellow teeth and laughed.

“I mean it.” She waggled her pointer finger at the ceiling.

“Who says it will ever be over?” The wall’s lips cracked as it spoke.

“Who said I was talking to you,” retorted Elena, tearing her eyes away from the ceiling so she could glare at the wall.

Black blood dripped out of the wall’s cracked lip, trickling down to the floor. “No one leaves here alive.”

Elena laughed. The sound was harsher, more maniacal than it had been two weeks ago.

“You do not believe?” asked the wall.

“You’re the reason I’m here.” She crouched down, wriggling in the straightjacket that was not nearly as tight as the orderlies thought, thankful for all the months she’d trained prior to taking this assignment.

“You can’t do that,” said the wall.

Elena arched one eyebrow as she shrugged off the jacket and used it to wipe up the black blood.

The wall opened its mouth and screamed. Elena didn’t flinch. It inhaled, sucking in air so hard her hair blew towards its maw. She closed her eyes, cleared her mind of the all the drug-induced hallucinations she’d had during her stay Frommington Hospital, waiting for the wall to show its true face.

She whispered words of power in the ancient tongue. The blood soaked jacket caught fire. The wall screamed as it burned with the jacket. The door opened as orderlies rushed in to put out the fire. Elena charged through them and strolled out of the burning hospital like she owned the place.

Micro Fiction: The Importance of a Clean Windshield

The Importance of a Clean Windshield

By Sara Codair

“Scrape that off before you make the jump.” Dad’s voice crackled through the com. Like everything Iris’ family owned, it was utterly obsolete.

He faded to static. Iris imagined him lecturing her on the dangers of bringing organic, terrestrial material, like pollen and bird shit, into hyperspace.

“Will do,” she said before turning on her craft’s wipers. Just to be safe, she set to the whole ship vibrating.

“Make sure you don’t miss anything,” crackled Dad.

“I love you, Dad. I’ll be fine, and I’ll let you know as soon as I revert to real time.” Iris punched the coordinates for Great Red Eight. She was going to be attending university there and studying materials engineering, but as she prepped for light speed, all she could think about was the party scene, and what it would finally be like to make a life for herself away from her family’s antiques and eccentricities.

As the home-made hyper drive hummed to life and the stars stretched into lines in her space-craft’s windshield, Iris couldn’t help thinking of each glowing streak as a potentially awesome path her life could take. With hope brewing in her brain, Iris set an alarm to wake her shortly before reverting to real time and drifted off to sleep.

***

Iris woke to urgent beeping. It wasn’t the alarm she set, but one alerting her to premature real-time reversion. Blinking sleep away, she stared at the controls, holding her breath until she realized she was only seconds away from her planned reversion point.

“That could’ve been worse,” she sighed, adjusting her course.

The ship hit resistance that shouldn’t exist in space. She peered through the view screens. A giant Osprey was pushing her craft away from Red Eight.

“So much for escaping eccentricity,” she muttered before radioing for emergency assistance.

Micro Fiction: Mr. Meowsker’s Bright Idea

Here is a little story, inspired by a prompt from Cracked Flash, to start your week:

Mr. Meowsker’s Bright Idea

By Sara Codair

“You’re my favorite monster,” said Annnaly, running her fingers over Gruffer’s fluffy face. Her black cat, Meowsker’s, was perched on here shoulder. He leaned forward licked the bridge of Gruffer’s nose.

Gruffer made a noise – a cross between a grunt and a huff. It was the only sound he ever made, but Annnaly imagined that if he was capable of human speech, he would be saying “Was?”

Nerves twined through her chest like poison ivy. She leaned her forehead against his, cupping his flat face in her hands. “The government says I can’t keep you. The made monster collections illegal. They…they want me to put you down.”

Tears streamed out of Annnaly’s eyes, dragging a river of black and blue cosmetic sludge from her face to Gruffer’s. She held his face, sobbing, not caring that Mr. Meowsker climbed off of her and onto Gruffer. She didn’t know what he did until she felt two enormous paws patting her back.

Looking up, she saw Mr. Meowsker proudly perched on Gruffer’s hear with his restrains dangling from his mouth. A smile cracked across her lips. “You brilliant feline.”

Mr. Meowsker purred like a motorcycle.

When the inspectors came to make sure Annnaly, the lady with the largest monster collection on the planet, had put down all her monsters, they were greeted by a hoard of hungry teeth and claws, not the taxidermied monster-corpses they expected.

Annaly wanted to taxidermy the inspectors and keep them as trophies, mementos from the first day of the coup, but there was literally nothing left by the time the monsters were done with them.

Micro Fiction: Solicitation

Here is another fun snippet of micro fiction that started with on of Cracked Flash’s prompts.  This story was a runner up in the Year 2, Week 30 competition.

Solicitation

By Sara Codair

“Like pain? Try wearing high heels,” she said slipping one nylon clad foot into a glittering stiletto. The way her long fingers danced the laces around her ankle up her calf made me think that my eyes were supposed to be following her hands up her leg, possible further, but I was more interested in the heels.

“What would you say if I told you I had worn heels, and loved them?” I risked eye contact just long enough to make her think I was interested in her body, then returned my gaze to the shoes.

“I’d say you were a kinky fellow.” She lifted her leg in the air, probably trying to get me to look up her skirt, but it was the perfect opportunity to see what size the shoes were.

An 8.5. Just one size too small. I sighed, reached into my pocket and fingered the bills there. “I’ll pay you for two hours if you tell me where you got those shoes.”

“I’ll show you,” she said and pulled me closer.

I backed away. “I’m serious. I have no interest in your services. Just your shoes. I’ll pay you, and you can spend the two hours doing whatever you like. I was going to buy your pair off of you, but they won’t fit.”

“For real?” she asked sitting up straight and folding her legs.

“For real,” I said taking a couple fifties out of my wallet.

“Stella’s boutique, on the corner of 6th and Rockland. Tell her Caty sent you. She’ll give you a deal.”

I handed her the money, left the hotel room and hailed cab, feeling like I was one step closer to finding the holy grail of high heels.

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© Sara Codair 2017

Micro Fiction: Migratory Blues

Here is another little story from Cracked Flash – this one was a runner up.

Migratory Blues

By Sara Codair

They unfurled their wings, shifted their weight and lifted off the rotting branch. Fuz smiled as the north wind hit their face. It was damp and mild, a sure sign spring had arrived in mid-regions. Circling high above the mud-sodden earth, they searched for one last southern meal.

They dove when they spotted slow movement – a tiny rodent whose legs were getting sucked in with every step. Within in seconds, the little critter was in Fuz’s claws, being carried back to the their nest.

After a hearty, albeit muddy meal, Fuz sprayed the nest with their scent and flew north.

#

Three days later, Fuz arrived to the mid realms, only to find the ground there had already turned to claw sucking mud. Their stomach grumbled as they circled over mud and water. They plucked an eel out of a pond and perched on a damp rock to eat it, but it wriggled all the way down.

Each year, it seemed the mid-realms spring got closer to that of the southern realms.

Fuz signed, flapped their tired wings and was airborne once again, hoping the north was having an early spring too, or else he would freeze to death.

#

Touching down in the north, Fuz was glad to have solid ground beneath their claw’s. The sun was shining, and prey animals were scurrying about – a living buffet. They feasted on rodents, lizards and insects until their belly felt like it would burst. Then they found a solid tree branch – one they noted was still devoid of leaves, and sprawled out for a nap in the sun.

Later, the howling wind woke them. The sun was gone, and frost coated the edges of their feathers and beak. They stood, struggling to take off, but the wind was too strong and cold.

A win on Cracked Flash with “Survival 101”

Cracked Flash’s writing prompts have been part of my weekly writing routine on and off for about a year now. Over the summer, I had stopped writing for them because I was judging. They had a brief hiatus in the fall. When they started up, it took me a few weeks to work in back into the routine. The few pieces I wrote were political rants pretending to be stories. Last week, I wrote a real story, and it won.

Here is it:

Survival 101

By Sara Codair

“Try a different one.” Joe frowned as the wriggling worm fell into the bucket of dirt.

I arched my eyebrows. “A worm is a worm.”

“The fat ones are juicier and slower. Easier to hook, more likely to attract fish.”

I sighed. “I don’t even like fish.”

“Would you rather eat the worm?”

“I’d rather eat nuts berries.” I gazed at the sun glistening on deep blue, vibrant leaves with orange-tinted tips and wispy seeds forming atop grass.

“Those’ll be hard to come by next month.” Joe dug weathered fingers into the bucket, pulling out a short worm barely able to wriggle, and handed it to me. “You want to survive, don’t you?”

“I used to be vegan.” My stomach wriggled like the obese worm, half-heartedly threatening to eject raspberries.

Joe’s laughter shook the remains of his shrunken belly. “Just hook the damned worm.”

Despite its protest, my stomach knew food was hard to come by, and held the berries while I jabbed the rusty, barbed metal into the worm, scrunching it like I was forcing a new curtain onto an old rod.

“That’s the spirit. Plant your feet and cast like I showed you.”

I obeyed. My tortured worm plopped into the shimmery blue. I watched the ripples grow as they approached shore. “What now?”

“Now we wait.” Joe lowered his raisen-like body onto a silvery rock. “We wait and we pray.”

I nodded, but remained standing. Winged-insects flittered across the water close to shore. A water-strider fell victim to a frog blending his body with a rotten log. A dragon fly landed on my nose, its wings tickling a smile out of my face. The last scientist I met said the human population might never recover. Nature, though, was doing just fine.

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See the original post here: http://crackedflash.blogspot.com/2017/02/year-2-week-25-results.html#comment-form

Flash Fiction: George and the Fatal Mistake

Earlier in the week, I blogged about a rejection I received for this story. No matter what I tell myself, at the end of the day, it really is fan fiction, and I need to stop sending it to places that don’t publish fan fiction. It belongs here, on my blog, where any one can read it for free and get a laugh, or shiver, from it. If your not a Star Wars fan, you might want to skip this one. Otherwise, enjoy!

-Sara

George and the Fatal Mistake

By Sara Codair

George felt sick as he walked down the red carpet. It should’ve been like walking on a low gravity planet full of cuddly Ewoks, but it was more like wearing lead shoes while trudging across the molten Mustafar. His wife’s arm was threaded through his. Lights flashed. Cameras clicked like a Killik army, clicking their pincers and mandibles as they marched.

His skin was crawling by the time he took his seat. Normally, he would’ve seen every cut of a Star Wars movie before it premiered, but he gave those rights away when he sold his franchise. He hadn’t known about the new books until he saw one on the shelf in the grocery store and he was being left out of the brainstorming meetings for the Clone Wars cartoon. The public was under the impression he didn’t care, that he had washed his hands of Star Wars. The public didn’t know shit.

Contrary to what most people thought, Star Wars had never really been his. There were guidelines it was supposed to follow and George feared Disney had thrown those in the trash compactor. He never meant to give up all control.

#

The screening confirmed his fears. Sweat dripped down his forehead, and he couldn’t hold his popcorn down another second. Abandoning his seat, he went straight to the single stall bathroom.

No matter how many times he hit the switch, the bulb wouldn’t illuminate. His cheeks tingled. His throat tightened. He stumbled towards the toilet in the dark, sunk to his knees and heaved. His throat burned as half-digested popcorn and Coke spewed from his mouth. A cane tapped on the tile floor, followed by a shrill, frog-like laugher.

“A long time, it has been,” croaked the voice.

George turned around and saw the demon he had sold his soul to over thirty years ago. It was barely three feet tall, with wrinkled green skin, glowing red eyes and pointy ears.

“Remember me, you do. Good.” The green devil took a step forward.

George nodded, staring at the being that inspired Yoda. With its tattered brown robe, tan tunic, stick cane and light saber, it looked like it had just hobbled of off the set of The Empire Strikes Back. Of course, the fictional Yoda’s eyes had never glowed that hellish red.

“A deal we had. Keep it, you did not,” continued the creature. “Thought you could cheat me, did you?”

George shook his head, backed away. He hadn’t intended to break the deal; he just wanted to retire and enjoy his wife before he got so old and shriveled that she started hiding his Viagra. Selling the franchise had been the best way to do that. It satisfied the fans’ demand for more and gave him billions to retire on.

“Appear in the new movies, I did not.” The creature rose off of the ground and hovered mere inches away from George, so they were eye to eye. “Dead, they will think I am. Power, I will lose.”

“You’re still in the other six.” George scrambled to mollify the monster’s wrath. “You were a Force Ghost in Return of the Jedi. They know you’re not gone. Your name was mentioned in the books hundreds of times. You’re in the Clone Wars shows. People remember you. They adore you and quote your lines like scripture.”

“Yet, mentioned in this movie, I am not. Sold me to my enemies, you did. Destroy me the Faeries will, now that my image they own.”

“Fa-faeries?” Breathing became difficult; he didn’t know if it were nerves or if the creature was Force choking him. It didn’t need hand motions like Vader or the Emperor. Those had been purely for the benefit of the audience.

“Mmmm….Own Disney, the Faerie Courts do.” The creature placed a three-fingered hand on George’s chest. Its fingernails were long, black and sharp enough to pierce through George’s tux and draw blood with the lightest touch. “Punishment, I must extract.”

“Please!” George sunk to his knees. “I didn’t know. I’ll get it back. I’ll do anything. Just please don’t hurt me!”

“Too late, it is,” cackled the creature. He dug his claws into George’s chest and pulled.

George felt his skin tear and screamed. It wasn’t loud enough to drown out the slurping, sucking and chewing until fangs pierced his heart and the world went black.

#

When the crossroads demon was done feasting on the traitor’s flesh, he took on the appearance of the dead man. He brushed the dust of off his pants as he got up and walked into the hall, in search of someone who could fix George’s mistake.

“Do just fine, this one will,” he muttered to himself before he offered to buy JJ Abrams a drink.

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Micro Fiction: Garden Wars

This piece of micro fiction has been hiding in various files on my hard drive, but I have finally wrangled it onto the internet were it can be seen by more than just lonly gigabytes.

Garden Wars

By  Sara Codair

The garden is city for faeries so small they’re invisible to the naked eye.

DSC_0683Scientist would be dumbfounded if they held their microscope here and saw the buzz of activity happening beneath the stems. There is a whole economy flourishing in the garden: The Allium Folk are trading pollen stock with the Peony People and warring with the Hydrangea Colony.

Last year, the Allium Folk lost a war the Lupine Ladies, but hope to gain some new territory from their inferior blue neighbors. The Hydrangea Colony may be wide, but its people are short and stunted. They have quite a few prisoners of war already, and might have conquered the whole bush, had it not been for the Fly Siege.

Thankfully, the Spider showed mercy and saved them from the dreaded flies. However, they must offer a sacrifice, or they will be his food tomorrow.

The blue prisoners will suit his needs just fine.

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©2016 Sara Codair

Flash Fiction: Hope

Hope

By Sara Codair

“Don’t feel bad. I’m pretty hard to kill,” said GiYu. His purple appendages were already reattached and his torso was knitting itself back together.

The human female nodded and sucked air in through her nose. The slurping sound worried GiYu that the mucus her crying had evoked was making it hard for her to breath. Her skin was still flushed red though, and everything he had read about humans had said they turn blue when they are suffocating. Her eyes were focused on on torso, watching feathery tendons flicker back and forth.

“What do you think of it?” asked GiYu.

At first, the female didn’t respond. However, GiYu was patient. He watched her brow furrow, her lips quiver and her shoulders square before she finally speaking it a quiet, raspy voice. “It’s…Like…like 3-D printing, only without the extruder. It’s…it’s magical.”

“Regeneration is the art of my kind.” GiYu beamed down at the missing section of his torso. It was wide and purple, but shaped like a an earth-tree half eaten by one of their furry beavers.

“Does it hurt?” she asked with a steadier voice.

GiYu shook his head. “It is pleasant, almost like mating. Some of my kind get addicted to it and harm themselves just to experience the pleasures of regeneration.”

“You’re not mad?” Her eyes were wider now, and the tears were starting to dry up.

“Quite the opposite.” GiYu wrapped a fuzzy, purple tentacle around the human female’s back. “I’ve met many humans, but none of them were born during The Melt. None possessed your unique abilities.”

The female’s hands had uncurled as she let out a slow breath. GiYu could see the tips of her ten tiny fingers now. He was pleased to see the flesh on the the tips were still smooth and whole and he was relieved that using her ability did not do harm to her.

“My own people think I’m a monster.” The human’s creamy cheeks glowed red as she looked up. It was the first time her two green eyes made contact with any of his seven eyes. “I burned my family’s home when I was seven. They wanted to kill me, but the government took me, experimented on me, deemed me unfit for service and sold me to you.”

GiYu pulled her closer. “We have plenty of use for a firestarter here on SyLur. Fire is the only thing that keeps the mold at bay, and it really isn’t a problem if you accidentally set me and my kin on fire. We rather enjoy it, and we hope you will enjoy our planet.”

“But I’m a slave,” said the human.

“For now,” said GiYu. “Dedication and hard work may yet earn you your freedom.”

“Really?”

“Yes.”

GiYu was pleased to see a flare of hope in the girl’s eyes.

***

The above story was originally written for the Cracked Flash Fiction Competition. It was the runner up, which meant the judges wrote a brief review about saying a few things they liked and a few things they thought could be better. That draft had been written from a more omniscient 3rd person point of view where the human female talked a lot more. The judge liked the concept of the story, but said the following:

“I felt like her personality felt incongruous with her backstory–for someone who was a pariah for most of their life, and probably both mentally and physically tormented and abused (generally what ‘experimented on’ stands for, since experiments tend to not be gentle things), she felt far too talkative and adventurous. It would be more believable to me if she was more timid and had a lot more nonverbal gestures; it might have been useful to write from a more limited third-person view from GiYu, where he observes her more closely, and we hear more of his thoughts.”

So I took that suggestion, more or less, before posting the story here. The reader does here more of GiYu’s thoughts. The girl is more timid and has more nonverbal gestures. As she realizes GiYu isn’t going to eat her and is pleased with her actions, then she becomes more talkative.

You can see the original here.

If you have any further suggestions for the piece, I’d love to hear them. I don’t think this piece is quite finished yet, but I am trying document/show my revision process online. I learn a lot from revising and documenting that revision. I hope other writers can too.

Thank you!

©2016 Sara Codair

Flash Fiction: Feline Frenzy

Here is a goofy cat story to brighten your Friday:

Feline Frenzy

By Sara Codair

I see you thought the kitten as it skulked toward the cheesecake.

The cheesecake didn’t say anything back. The kitten took that as a sign that the cheesecake didn’t see him. Just to be safe, he crouched a little lower to the ground. He didn’t walk straight towards the cheesecake, but took a drunken path, zigzagging across the room, hiding behind every obstacle he came across before he reached the table.

He stared up at his prize – just a little further. He wiggled his behind, ready to pounce, when he heard a faint buzzing. Looking around, he spotted a fly hovering near a porcelain vase.

Turning in a circle, he wiggled again, adjusting his angle, and leapt towards the fly. It zipped upwards seconds before his paws crushed it. He leapt again, landing on the end table, knocking the vase over as he sprung towards the curtains. Up and up he climbed until he was level with the fly, which was resting on the ceiling.

He threw himself off the curtains. His paw grazed a smooth carapace before they both tumbled down, landing smack in the middle of the cheesecake. The kitten ate the fly in one bite, then proceeded to lick the cheesecake until his little belly was full.

©2016 Sara Codair